Dear Society: Stop Pitting Arts Against STEM

It’s 2020, and now, more than ever, most jobs require highly specialized professionals who know a little bit of everything to get by, carving a niche for themselves. Many scientists take up courses in graphic design and writing to find ways to make their knowledge more accessible to the general population. Artists have to specialize a bit in marketing, personal finances, and publicity to be able to live off of their art in a variety of ways. Business students, more than ever, have to study language, psychology, and storytelling to actually understand how to accurately convey their ideas and convince their target audience that their idea is the best one. Now, why does society insist on the notion that one area of study is better than another?

For as long as I can remember, it was (and is) common for parents to insist on wanting their kids to have a better life than they did, followed up by ‘’wishing their kids would be a doctor/lawyer/engineer!”. While these are all necessary professions in society, the only reason this is said is due to a stereotype that they are financially stable, and therefore rewarding jobs. 

The truth is that STEM is a highly competitive field, and jobs are only abundant when one chooses to study in areas that have an abundance of need for research and funding for said researchers. For example, engineers are employed as long as they’re needed, and a microbiologist might be scarce in work if there are no research opportunities or industries that require them where you’re job hunting. One of the main issues nowadays is that there are way too many people studying in STEM fields, leaving future candidates with fewer job opportunities. 

While it is true that jobs that creatives pick up are often underpaid, and sometimes scarce, they are usually very fulfilling and open doors to more significant projects that can be more financially stable for the employees. On another note, finding ways to innovate through one’s art is always a door that’s open right ahead. Sometimes, artists live with the fear of selling out, or not being authentic with their art. Nowadays, I believe there’s room for both using one’s skills in a commercial way and also creating art which is a response to your personal needs. 

A visual artist could become a financially stable graphic designer, a novelist, an established copywriter, and a drama major with experience as a stage manager could branch out to event production. I think that both academic institutions and society alike should make an effort in valuing these possibilities and paying these professionals justly so that, in the future, students don’t feel ashamed or insecure about following their dreams and honing their skills. 

Moreso, most industries require a wide variety of professionals. Any given business that becomes big efficiently needs professionals that come from Business, Engineering, Science, Communications, and Arts fields, and they are all equally important at the end of the day. 

One should be proud of the quality of one’s work instead of one’s line of work. As there are terrible artists in the world, there are bad engineers, horrible scientists, and people that should have never studied to become doctors. What’s more important is passion, hopefully, accompanied by financial stability. 

Parents of the near future: support your kid’s dreams and aspirations. Maybe, they have the potential to be financially stable and enjoy their jobs, but you must be willing to let them explore their limits and grow. No more pitting STEM against Arts. We need both of them.